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Socialism is back in vogue

Last updated on April 14, 2019

Most Vol State students weren’t around in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, and people said that socialism was dead. But just 28 years later, socialism has become a popular concept again, with a reported 57% Americans having a favorable impression of socialism and only 47% favoring capitalism. But according to a New York Post editorial, “Democratic socialists don’t seem to embrace the classic definition of socialism, that being government control of the means of production – which has traditionally meant nationalizing whole industries.”

Today’s new “Democratic Socialists” aspire to bring about their utopian socialism through peaceful political action. They say socialism is not properly represented by repressive states like the Soviet Union, North Korea and Venezuela. Instead they point to Scandinavian-style socialism in nations like Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as “true socialism.” But as Danish Prime Minister Lares-Lokke Rasmussen said, “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

In fact, true socialism is represented by the Soviet Union, North Korea and Venezuela, and there is an element of new socialists who are advocating it. The same New Yorker article cited above describes “red parties” that present intense discussions of Marxist theory. These more hardcore Marxist socialists believe that radical change can only be brought about by violent revolution.

The rise of these movements comes in answer to an increasing disillusionment with capitalism, and what is seen as its greed, materialism and selfishness. But is an economic system to blame for the evils of a society? This is the Marxist claim. In truth, every society throughout history has been plagued by these evils simply because they are inherent to human nature.

There is big money and pretense fueling both schools of thought in the “conservative vs. liberal” debate. To jump on either side is to be duped. Before we are convinced by a compelling argument, we need to hear the other side and consider how those ideas have played out in history, since the old saying is true that “history proves that man does not learn from history.”

The Vol State student might say, “OK, that’s great. But how does any of this affect me? It’s spring and I’m about ready to close the books and just get out of here.”

Politics affect every person living in the U.S., whether we want to think about it or not. As the American idiom, typically referring to the armed forces goes, “Freedom is not free.” It takes an informed public to hold its leaders in check.

We need to know what’s what when nice-enough sounding topics like The Green New Deal (GND) arise. The GND was crafted by U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez along with The Sunrise Movement, described as an “army of young people” seeking to “make climate change an urgent priority across America.” Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialist of America, and as the New Yorker recently put it,The Green New Deal seeks “nothing less than a total overhaul of our national infrastructure.”

With socialism’s recent failure in Venezuela, it seems like an odd time to push it in the U.S., but with distrust in an increasing biased media and social media’s “citizen journalists” venting every possible unvetted opinion, most people are on information overload. They stick to their comfortable conservative or liberal views even when those espousing them fail to make sense. Most figure the chips will fall where they fall and just want to get on with their life, and while that is understandable, the window of opportunity to speak freely is rapidly closing.

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